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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘chassan’

Yaakov Avinu’s Delayed Marriage

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Note to readers: This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

The Rambam writes in the 10th perek of Hilchos Ishus (halacha 13-14) that if a man marries a woman, he is obligated to have sheva berachos for seven days. If one marries several women at once, he must have separate sheva berachos for each one for seven days – consecutively. The reason for this is because we cannot mix one simcha with another simcha. For this reason one may not get married on Chol HaMoed, for we are obligated to have simcha on Chol HaMoed and we cannot mix that simcha with the simcha that one is obligated to have for seven days after one marries. The Rambam says that we derive this halacha from the pasuk in this week’s parshah:Ma’le shevua zos… (Fill this week…).” Lavan told Yaakov Avinu that he should wait a week after marrying Leah before marrying Rachel.

The source for this Rambam is from the Yerushalmi. The Talmud Bavli, in Moed Kattan 8b, derives this halacha from a pasuk in Nevi’im.

There is a question on the Rambam that several Acharonim discuss (see Makneh Even Ha’ezer Kuntris Acharon 62:2). Why did Yaakov wait a week before marrying Rachel? The Rambam only said that one must observe the sheva berachos one week after another, but did not say that one may not marry another woman during his sheva berachos with the first woman. This question cannot be asked on the Yerushalmi, for we could answer that the Yerushalmi indeed prohibits marrying another woman during the sheva berachos of the first woman. The reason why the Yerushalmi derived the halacha from Yaakov Avinu and not from Nevi’im, like the Bavli, was in order to rule that one may not even marry another woman during the week of his sheva berachos with the first wife. But the Rambam rules that one can marry many women at once and we require each woman to have a separate week of sheva berachos. Why then could Yaakov not have married Rachel the very next day, and simply delay her sheva berachos?

The Keren Orah (Moed Kattan 8b) answers that the Rambam only permits one to marry other women if he marries them at the same time. If one marries one woman separately and only the following day wishes to marry another woman, he is not permitted to do so since the period of sheva berachos for the first woman has already begun. The Rambam was referring to a scenario whereby a man married several women at the same time; therefore the period of sheva berachos had not yet taken affect, which would have prohibited marrying other women. In Yaakov’s case, however, he did not realize that he had married Leah until the following morning. At that time, the period of sheva berachos for Leah had already begun and he was therefore unable to marry Rachel until after the sheva berachos of Leah were complete.

Other Acharonim suggest that even though one may marry another woman during the sheva berachos period of his first wife, the second sheva berachos will have different halachos attached to it if he waits to marry the second woman until after the sheva berachos period of the first wife is over. For example, during the regular sheva berachos period celebrated after one marries a virgin, the chassan is forbidden to go to work. Even if his wife allows him to go, he may not go to work because the prohibition is on him and she has no jurisdiction over it. Some Acharonim rule that when one marries more than one woman at a time, it is only the chassan’s prohibition against going to work for the first seven days. After the first seven days the prohibition of going to work stems from the wife, and therefore she could permit him to go to work. Even though Yaakov could have married Rachel the day after he married Leah, he feared that Lavan would force Rachel to permit Yaakov to go to work during her sheva berachos. Therefore Yaakov wished to marry Rachel after Leah’s sheva berachos period was complete in order to ensure that he would be able to be together with Rachel during the sheva berachos that was being celebrated for her.

My Machberes

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Vishnitzer/Skverer Sheva Berachos
During The Hurricane

The chassunah took place in New Square on Wednesday evening, October 24. Yochanan Hager married Margolia (Pearl), daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Hager; son of Rabbi Yisroel Hager, Monsey Vishnitzer Rav; son of Rabbi Mordechai Hager, Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, father of the kallah, is a son-in-law of Rabbi Dovid Twersky, Skverer Rebbe.

The father of the chassan is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager, Kiamesha Lake Vishnitzer Rav; son of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe, and son-in-law of Rabbi Chai Yitzchok Twersky, Rachmestrivka Rebbe. Rabbi Yisroel Hager, grandfather of the kallah, is a son-in-law of Rabbi Elazar Meisels, zt”l (1914-1995), Uheiler Rav of Chicago and Miami.

On Monday, October 29, Hurricane Sandy unleashed its fury on the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, extinguishing electricity to tens of thousands of homes. That night, the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe came to New Square to join the Skverer Rebbe in celebrating sheva berachos. Hurricane Sandy did not exempt New Square, where every home lost electrical power. Skverer chassidim managed to equip the Main Skverer Beis Medrash with enough generator power to illuminate the event.

Tuesday’s final sheva berachos was held in the Main Vishnitzer Beis Medrash in Monsey despite the continuing storm and its many resulting complications. The happy event lasted late into the evening.

Nadvorna/Aleksander Shidduch

On Monday, October 29, Ben Zion Leifer was engaged to the daughter of Rabbi Feivel Eiger, Rosh Yeshiva Aleksander in Boro Park; son of Rabbi Meir Eiger; son-in-law of Rabbi Avrohom Menachem Danziger, zt”l (1921–2005), Aleksander Rebbe and author of Imrei Menachem; son of Rabbi Yehudah Moshe Tyberg-Danziger, zt”l (1892–1973), Aleksander Rebbe and author of Emunas Moshe; son-in-law of Rabbi Betzalel Yair Danziger, zt”l (1861-1934), Aleksander-Lodjer Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yechiel Danziger (1828–1894), founder of the Aleksander chassidishe dynasty.

Nadvorna Rebbe

The kallah is also a granddaughter of Rabbi Meir Rokeach, Kozlover Rebbe in Boro Park; son of Rabbi Moshe Rokeach, zt”l (1898-1970), Kozlover Rebbe who emigrated to the United States in 1931 together with his father, Rabbi Mayer Rokeach, zt”l (1871-1941), Kozlover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel Rokeach, zt”l (1836-1890), Pshemishel Rebbe; son of Rabbi Moshe Rokeach, zt”l (d. 1883), Karover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Sholom Rokeach, zt”l (1783-1855), founding Belzer Rebbe renowned as the Sar Sholom.

The chassan is the son of Rabbi Alter Menashe Leifer, Nadvorna Rav in Williamsburg; son of Rabbi Sholmo Leifer, Nadvorna Rebbe in Boro Park; son of Rabbi Sholom Leifer, zt”l (1895-1980), Nadvorna Rebbe who emigrated to the United States in 1926 and established his beis medrash in Brighton Beach; son of Rabbi Yesochor Dov Bertcha Leifer, zt”l (1845-1906), Nadvorna Rebbe in Satmar and author of Lekutei Yesochor; son of Rabbi Mordechai Leifer, zt”l (1824-1894), Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Maamar Mordechai; son of Rabbi Yesochor Bertche Leifer, zt”l (d. 1848), founding Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Sisrei Torah.

The Williamsburg Nadvorna Rav is a son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Rosenbaum, Kalsiher Rebbe in Flatbush; son of Rabbi Yesochor Ber Rosenbaum, zt”l (1905-1981), Strozenitzer Rebbe and author of Divrei Yesochor; son of Rabbi Isomor Rosenbaum, zt”l (1886-1973), Nadvorna Rebbe; son of Rabbi Mayer Rosenbaum, zt”l (1852-1908), Kretchnifer Rebbe who wrote kamayos; son of the Maamar Mordechai.

In addition to his beis medrash, the Nadvorna Rav of Williamsburg heads a kollel there with more than 50 participants, as well as the Tiferes Bnos girls’ school, which has an enrollment of more than 400.

Vishnitzer Shidduch

Vishnitzer chassidim in Bnei Brak were preparing for the departure of their beloved leader, Rabbi Yisroel Hager, Bnai Brak Vishnitzer Rebbe, to America for a three-week visit that would include his participation at the wedding of a grandson. Then came the news that another of the Rebbe’s grandsons had become engaged. Menachem Mendel Hager, son of Rabbi Yitzchok Yeshaya Hager, was betrothed to the daughter of Rabbi Shlomo Goldman, Zvhiller Rebbe of Union City. The chassan is also a grandson of Rabbi Paneth, zt”l, Deijer Rebbe of Jerusalem.

The kallah is a granddaughter of Rabbi Avrohom Goldman, zt”l (1933-2009), Zvhiller Rebbe, and of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, zt”l (1905-1994), Klausenberger Rebbe. Rabbi Avrohom was the son of Rabbi Mordechai Goldman, zt”l (1910-1981), Zvhiller Rebbe and author of Gedulas Mordechai.

My Machberes

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Satmar Shidduch

In the midst of preparations for the grand Satmar chassunah held on Wednesday, October 17, another grandchild of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe, became engaged. On October 15, Zvi Hersh Meisels was engaged to the daughter of Rabbi Naftali Meir Babad, Tarnopol Rav in Kensington and Tartikov Rosh Beis Din; son of Rabbi Asher Aleksander Babad, zt”l (1910-1985), Tartikover Rav, and son-in-law of Rabbi Kalman Pinter, zt”l (d. 2009), Sulzberger Rav.

The chassan is the son of Rabbi Shimon Zev Meisels, Rav of the Beirach Moshe district of Kiryas Yoel and author of Sefer Binyan Shimon. The chassan is the grandson of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Meisels, Seagate Rav, as well as of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. The engagement was formalized in the home of the kallah’s father in Boro Park. In Kiryas Yoel, long lines led to the home of the Satmar Rebbe where well-wishers gave their joyous mazel tovs.

Women And Hatzolah

Rachel Freier, an attorney representing women in the greater Boro Park community, had long felt there was a need for emergency services for women in labor to conform to our community’s level of modesty. The idea “has nothing to do with feminism, it has to do with the dignity of women and their modesty,” said Mrs. Freier.

Though turned down by Hatzolah, she was careful to avoid framing the proposal as a critique of the widely praised organization, whose work she respects greatly. Instead, she said it was a matter of reclaiming a “job that has been the role of women for thousands of years [that of a midwife].” We are proud of Hatzolah,” she said, adding, “Hatzolah leaders do not fully understand what a woman feels like when she is in labor.”

Ezras Nashim, Hebrew for “women’s section,” the name of the new organization, is modeled after a program created two years ago in New Square. Hatzolah’s four-member rabbinical board released a memo for members saying they would not engage in discussions on the matter. A similar proposal had been rejected some 25 years ago.

Mrs. Freier had attempted to reach Hatzolah’s leaders to arrange a meeting. “The initial plan was for me to meet with Hatzolah and explain the need for women to join,” she said. “However, I was told that the policy of women not joining Hatzolah was set years ago…. We’re just trying to make a great organization even better. We’re not filing a complaint. We’re coming with a suggestion.”

On February 26 of this year, Mrs. Freier opened a recruitment drive for Ezras Nashim and a number of women indicated strong interest in joining. In total, Ezras Nashim had at its outset more than 200 women with various levels of medical training in its ranks. Mrs. Freier continued discussions on the matter with rabbinical leaders in the community. The new organization has the blessing of several rabbis.

Women And Burkas

In Israel, small groups of women living in some observant neighborhoods have chosen to wear burkas (a loose garment covering the entire body worn by Muslim women) in order to achieve maximum tznius. Not one recognized rabbi has endorsed burkas for Jewish women. On the contrary, several leading rabbis have strongly expressed their opposition to the strange behavior.

On Sunday, October 14, one of the “shawl women” was in the throes of childbirth and refused to be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for fear of chillul Shabbos.

The story began when a man rushed into the shul on Avraham Ben-David Street early Shabbos morning calling for assistance for his pregnant wife. A member of Ichud Hatzalah of Bnei Brak went with the man. As they were running to the apartment, an ambulance was summoned.

The husband, however, told the Hatzolah member to cancel the call, explaining that his wife would refuse an ambulance since it was Shabbos.

The husband and the Hatzolah member were met by a second the Hatzolah member when they reached the apartment. They tried persuading the mother to travel to the hospital by ambulance, but she refused.

The first Hatzolah member called his mother, a midwife, and the delivery took place at the apartment. After the delivery they again attempted to persuade the new mother to be taken by ambulance but she remained obstinate.

My Machberes

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Satmar Chassunah

On Wednesday, October 17, Dovid Elimelech Halberstam will marry the daughter of Rabbi Hanoch Henach Ashkenazi, son-in-law of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. Rabbi Hanoch Henach serves as the Rav of Beis Medrash Avnei Tzedek in the Atzei Temarim section of Kiryas Yoel.

Rabbi Hanoch Henach, father of the kallah, is the son of Rabbi Yitzchok Ashkenazi, Alesker Rebbe; son of Rabbi Elimelech Ashkenazi, zt”l (1916-2012), Melbourne Seagate Rav. The Alesker Rebbe is the son-in-law of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shlomo Taub, zt”l (1901-1977), Kaliver Rebbe in Williamsburg and author of Chakal Tapuchin.

The chassan’s father is Rabbi Avrohom Halberstam, Rav of Khal Minchas Chinuch in Boro Park and Rosh Kollel Tartikov. Rabbi Avrohom is the son of Rabbi Boruch Noson Halberstam, zt”l (1922-2006), Keshaniver Rebbe in Boro Park; son of Rabbi Dovid Halberstam, zt”l, Keshaniver Rebbe; son of Rabbi Boruch Halberstam, zt”l (yahrzeit 11th Tishrei), Keshaniver Rebbe; son of Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, zt”l (d. 1915), Keshaniver Rebbe; son of Rabbi Dovid Halberstam, zt”l (1818-1893), Keshaniver Rebbe; second son of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, zt”l (1797-1876), revered Sanzer Rebbe and author of Divrei Chaim. Rabbi Boruch Noson Halberstam’s mother, Rebbetzin Rivah Malka a”h, was the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Yitzchok Yeruchom, zt”l Hy”d (1864-1943), Altshtater Rav , murdered during the Holocaust.

Rabbi Avrohom Halberstam is the son-in-law of Rabbi Asher Aleksander Babad, zt”l (1910-1985), Tartikover Rav who lost his wife and children in the Holocaust. Emigrating to the United States in the early 1950s, Rabbi Usher reestablished his family and the remnants of his congregation, first on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and later in Boro Park. Rabbi Asher was the son of Rabbi Yitzchok Babad, zt”l, Tartikover Rav; descendent of Rabbi Yosef Babad, zt”l (1790-1874), Tarnopoler Rav and author of Minchas Chinuch, a widely studied work on the 613 commandments of the Torah. The Minchas Chinuch was a brother-in-law of the Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, zt”l (1793-1876), Sanzer Rav and author of Divrei Chaim.

The aufruf took place this past Shabbos in Khal Minchas Chinuch in Boro Park and was followed by a gala kiddush attended by thousands. On the day of the chassunah, buses will bring guests from Bedford Avenue at the BQE in Williamsburg at 4:30, 5:15, 6:15, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, and 10:15, returning at 7:45, 9:00, 10:15, 11:00, and after the mitzvah tantz; and from 49th Street down from 18th Avenue to Fort Hamilton Parkway at 3:45 and at 6:20 and returning at 7:45 and after the mitzvah tantz.

Satmar Rebbe

The chassunah will take place in Kiryas Yoel. The Satmar Rebbe will receive kvitlech at his home on Sanz Court prior to the chassunah from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Main Beis Medrash in Kiryas Yoel will close at 1 p.m. for wedding preparations. Minchah minyanim will be conducted in the Ekstein Hall on the lower level of the shul building. The kabbalas panim for the chassan will take place in the Kollel Hall beginning at 5:30. The kabbalas panim for the kallah will be held on the first level of the Keren Vayoel Moshe Building starting at 5:30.

The chassan will be escorted with song and dance to the badeken ceremony beginning at 6:30. The chuppah is scheduled for 6:45 on an elevated platform in the shul’s parking lot.

The Satmar Rebbe, while still on the platform after the chuppah, will bless everyone collectively. A fleet of coach buses will be standing by to ferry all ladies to the Beis Rochel Paradise Hall where they will be served the chassunah meal. Special buses are reserved for family members. Men will come to the Main Beis Medrash where the entire middle level, including the entrance lobby, has been prepared for the serving of the wedding banquet meal. Yeshiva students will be positioned on multi-level standing bleachers where they will be served sandwiches and cold drinks. In addition, all guests will be able to partake of smorgasbord tables.

The Satmar Rebbe will rejoin the simcha at 9 p.m., at which time all tables and chairs will be moved aside. The chassan and the kallah will enter their respective meal settings at 9:15. Birchas HaMazon is scheduled for 11 p.m., followed by the arrival of the ladies to the ladies’ galleries for the mitzvah tantz.

My Machberes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Rabbis Defend Metzitzah B’Peh

One hundred twenty-five chassidishe and yeshivish rabbis have signed a kol koreh proclamation stating there will be no compliance with a proposed New York City Department of Health requirement for parents and mohelim (practitioners of circumcision) to sign an “informed consent” document before metzitzah b’peh is performed on infant males. The message they wish to convey is that many Orthodox Jews will not be intimidated into changing any aspect of the practice of bris milah with metzitzah b’peh.

Metzitzah b’peh is the oral suction of topical blood from the open wound of the removed foreskin. Immediately prior to the suction of topical blood, the mohel rinses his mouth with wine or alcohol.

The kol koreh

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe, is not a signatory to the kol koreh. Instead, he issued his own statement proclaiming his readiness to defend the minutest phases of the traditional custom with his very life, if necessary, in accordance with the Talmudic dictum (Gittin 47b). The Satmar Rebbe says he will never allow the signing of any document by a parent or mohel of his flock that might even hint at any compromise.

The kol koreh has the signatures of 125 chassidishe and yeshivish rabbis and promises more signatures to come. The list includes religious leaders such as Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe; Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, rosh yeshiva Torah Vodaas; Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, Karlsburger Rav; Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Ungar, Bobover Rebbe; Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach Beth Medrash Govoha; and Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, Skulener Rebbe.

In a separate statement the Igud HoRabbonim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America – while acknowledging views on both sides of the issue, declared its opposition to any government regulation of the circumcision rite. This echoes a similar statement issued recently by the Agudath Israel of Amerca.

Vishnitzer Chassunah

The Shabbos Shoftim aufruf of Aaron Teitelbaum, August 24-25, was celebrated in Williamsburg together with his father, Rabbi Yaakov Dovid Teitelbaum, Spinka rosh yeshiva in Boro Park, and his grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel Teitelbaum, rosh kollel Me’orer Hashachar, and son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Moskowitz, Shotzer Rebbe in Williamsburg and son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai Hager, Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe.

On Tuesday, August 28, the chassan was brought under the chuppah in front of the Vishnitzer Beis Medrash in Monsey, where he met his kallah, the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Yechiel Mechel Moskowitz, Monsey Shotzer Rav; son of the Shotzer Rebbe in Williamsburg.

The chassan and kallah are grandchildren of the Shotzer Rebbe in Williamsburg and both are great-grandchildren of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe. Shabbos Ki Seitzei Shevah Berachos were celebrated in Monsey. Motzaei Shabbos Shevah Berachos were held at the Shotzer Beis Medrash to honor the grandfather and Sunday night Shevah Berachos, honoring the great-grandfather, were celebrated at the Vishnitzer Beis Medrash in Monsey.

Yerushalayim Nadvorna Rebbe Visits N.Y.

Rabbi Meir Yitzchok Isaac Rosenbaum, Yerushalayim Nadvorna Rebbe, arrived at Kennedy Airport at noon on Sunday, August 26, and was met by a large group of chassidim. He was brought to the home of Rabbi Naphtali Zvi Rubin, Monsey Dombrover Rav, where he stayed for Shabbos Ki Seitzei until Sunday, September 2, when he proceeded to the home of Moshe Beilush in Boro Park, where he remained until Monday, September 3. This is his first visit to America after being crowned as Yerusahalyim Nadvorna Rebbe upon the passing of his father in March.

The newly anointed Yerusahalyim Nadvorna Rebbe has earned a reputation as a chassidishe personality unique to the Nadvorna dynasty. His leadership in Jerusalem is the fulfillment of his grandfather’s original aspirations. In 1947, when the Devar Chaim came to Eretz Yisrael, he had hoped to rebuild his dynasty in Jerusalem. Sixty-five years later, it is his grandson who is cultivating Nadvorna chassidus in the holy city.

The Shabbos Ki Seitzei tefillos and tisch were conducted at the Dombrover Beis Medrash in Monsey. Rabbi Meir Yitzchok Isaac is the son of Rabbi Yaakov Yisochor Ber Rosenbaum, zt”l (1930-2012), Bnei Brak Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Beer Yaakov; son of Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Rosenbaum, zt”l (1903-1977), Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Devar Chaim who survived the Holocaust and moved to Palestine in 1947, establishing Yeshiva Mamar Mordechai in Bnei Brak; son of Rabbi Isomor Rosenbaum, zt”l (1886-1973), Nodvorna Rebbe who was anointed at age 15; son of Rabbi Meir Rosenbaum, zt”l (1852-1908), Kretchnifer Rebbe; son of son of Rabbi Meir Rosenbaum, zt”l (1852-1908), Kretchnifer Rebbe, the only person authorized by his father to issue kameyos (written amulets) to chassidim petitioning for heavenly help; son of Rabbi Mordechai Rosenbaum, zt”l (1824-1894), Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Mamar Mordechai; son of Rabbi Yesochor Bertche Leifer, zt”l (d. 1848), founding Nadvorna Rebbe and author of Sisrei Torah.

Preparations For Satmar Chassunah

The first shidduch of a grandchild of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe, was realized on Sunday, November 6, 2011, when Chaim Hersh (Chaim Zvi) Rosenberger was engaged to the daughter of Rabbi Asher Anshel Scher, Classoner Rav. The chassan is the son of Rabbi Yitzchok Rosenberger, Lee Gardens Satmar dayan and son of Rabbi Yehoshua Rosenberger, rav of Kiryas R’ma in Beit Shemesh and member dayan of the Eidah Hacharedis of Jerusalem. Rabbi Yitzchok Rosenberger is a son-in-law of the Satmar Rebbe and also serves as rosh yeshiva in the Satmar Yeshiva.

Whose SImcha Is It Really?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Everyone loves a wedding. Really what is there not to love? You gather together with family and friends, all dressed up in your nicest clothing and jewelry, are treated to a sumptuous meal, and then get to enjoy wonderful music and even some dancing. And dancing at a wedding is unique in its own right – women of all backgrounds, at every stage of life, twirling and clapping all for one person – the kallah. What could be nicer?

At some weddings you even get to see elderly grandparents sharing in the simcha. Sometimes they are there with canes, sometimes in wheelchairs, sometimes accompanied by an aide or another relative. They too are dressed up and smiling, they too want to participate and rejoice with the chassan and kallah. But how does one rejoice, express their personal simcha, when they are infirm and can no longer dance, clap or twirl around?

The focus of a wedding and its source of simcha changes as one ages. When you are young, you think that the one with the most simcha, the one experiencing the most joy must be the kallah. She’s the one in the white dress, nervously anticipating the exciting moment the band will boom out “Od Yeshama” and she will see her chassan come proudly striding towards her. Everyone cranes their necks to see the expression on his face.  But as we mature and our perspective widens to identify with the parents of the young couple, our thought process changes.  Here they are, marrying off a child, a child who just a blink of an eye ago was a toddler, a youngster.  “Why, just a short while ago she was still a baby,” they marvel, along with all their friends.

Then time passes and we have traveled a little bit further down the road of life and watched ever younger kallahs get married (and don’t they seem younger and younger to you all the time now?) and you look again. Now you notice the older generation; the grandparents, and sometimes even great-grandparents, the survivors of the past, the ones who put so much effort into getting everyone to this day.  Often they cannot stand on their own and it can seem as if they have been relegated to the sidelines.  Yes, they are there for pictures, snapped for eternity for that all-important album, to show that they were there at this simcha. But sometimes they do feel somewhat pushed aside.

It should not be that way.  Our elders are our crowns – ateres rosheinu.  It is a tremendous zechus – even if the younger generation doesn’t always appreciate it – to have them alive and able to participate in our simchas.  They are the symbols of what was, what is, and what can continue to be. They are really the apex of the multi-generational event that culminates at every wedding.

Just recently I was baruch Hashem able to return home for my youngest sister’s wedding.  And it was everything it should be – the beautiful kallah, the makeup, dresses, gowns, sisters, cousins, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews; the rush to prepare, the incessant shopping around to find “just the right outfit,” organizing everything so that all the overseas children could come, the hall, the food, the caterer…all of it. There was the pre-wedding Shabbos together with even more cousins and family members; the time spent together, the cleanup.

Then the day of the wedding dawned. We all got up early, nervous and excited. Each one of us got dressed in all the finery we had been preparing for so many weeks.

And my grandparents, now in their nineties, bli ayin hara, got ready too.

Bubby looked great. She walked with difficulty – but she walked, mostly on her own, sometimes with one of us. She looked magnificent. Zeidy could no longer make it to a wedding completely on his own, and needed a wheelchair. But even in his wheelchair, he looked so good. With his cane in his hands for when he would get out of the wheelchair, we set off.  As the elders of the family they had been anticipating this wedding for a long time, but for Zeidy there was an added dimension to this special simcha.

This sister had been born when my parents were running a business and both needed to be there full-time.  They would never have left her with just a sitter, but someone needed to watch her.  Zeidy, who was retired, needed a job, something he could do well and would make him feel needed…a perfect shidduch. Zeidy became my sister’s prime babysitter. And oh, how those two loved each other.  He looked forward to each day – talking to her, holding her, proudly pushing her around in her stroller, playing with her and even occasionally changing her diaper.  Zeidy loves each of his grandchildren, but for this particular grandchild, he has a special place in his heart.

This special relationship continued throughout the years. My sister often went over to visit – they lived just a short two blocks from our home.  She would stop by to just say hello, eat some of my Bubby’s famous chocolate chip banana cake, (her favorite!), and play some cards with Zeidy. He always lit up when he’d see her. And as she went through the turbulent teenage years, she would still remember to call and visit, in between being with her friends, going on outings and stays in summer camp. Bubby and Zeidy’s house was one of her favorite places to be.

As Zeidy aged, many family members tried to find ways to help him. It wasn’t easy and became even more so as he began to lose most of his eyesight.  It was my sister who came up with a great idea. Every Friday, she would go over to their home to learn with Zeidy. He loved those learning sessions. This went on for years, and he looked forward to it all week long. When she graduated high school and went out of town, it was very hard for him. But even then she made sure to keep it up – every week, she’d call him long distance, and when she was in the city, she would come over in person to learn something with him. Zeidy loved it.

As the kabbalas panim got underway, my sister was busy with all the guests coming over to greet her. The photographer placed us, her older sisters, in a row behind the dais, and seated the two mothers, as well as my grandmother and her sister on the dais next to her. My uncles wheeled Zeidy into the room to be near the dais so he could somehow be part of the badeken.

Then the music started, and my father, the chassan and his father, along with all his exuberant friends, came marching into the room. The electricity was palpable. Of course the women had tears in their eyes. My Bubby sat up straight in her chair, proud to be with us. Zeidy was still there, waiting expectantly, but quietly near the front of the dais.

As the chassan badeked her and my father bentched her, it seemed as if everything was happening so fast.  Taking off her jewelry, handing her the appropriate tefillos to say, and of course, the ubiquitous photographer needing “just another shot, & smile,” made it all very hectic. But then suddenly, to the utter astonishment of everyone present, the kallah jumped out of her chair and sprinted towards the edge of the dais, gown, veil, flowers and all. It happened so fast the photographer actually missed it!

She ran the few paces to where Zeidy was sitting in his wheelchair, bent down all the way so he could hear her and screamed, “Zeidy! I want you to bentch me!” She had shouted twice until her heard her.  Those of us standing around stopped in our tracks.  The band may have still been blaring away, but for us, that moment froze in time. Crying, Zeidy lifted his shaky hands, unsure of where to put them with all her hairdo, veil and headpiece in the way. Undeterred, my sister put his hands directly on her head, headpiece and expensive hairdo notwithstanding, and bent down more so he could bentch her.

None of us could hear what he actually said, but it doesn’t matter. Hearts talk too and that is the best language.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, the elderly are inadvertently left out of the most important parts of a large simcha. Often unavoidable, but this scene with my sister says volumes. Even when our elderly are “too old to participate,” their mere presence at such a life event is a simcha all in itself! And by giving Zeidy that honor she showed him more than with words, hugs or anything else, that he was never too old to matter in her life, no matter how he looks, no matter what he can or cannot do.

This is the ultimate hakaras hatov. This is the greatest kavod we can give to those who matter to us.

Ironically, it was only after this touching scene was over, that the photographer heard something special had happened — and he had missed it! He came running back in and asked my sister to “do it again” so he could get his picture of it…which she gladly did…and even the second time around, Zeidy cried.

But don’t worry. My eleven-year-old daughter caught the first time, the real thing, on her digital camera to share with everyone again and again, after the wedding was over…

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

What About Ma’ariv?
‘The Bridegroom Is Exempt From Kerias Shema’
(Berachos 16a)

A mishnah on our daf states that a chassan who marries a besulah is exempt from the mitzvah of reciting kerias shema on the night of his wedding. This is because of the rule (Sukkah 25a): “osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah – one who is presently occupied with one mitzvah is exempt from performing another mitzvah.” In this instance, the chassan is preoccupied with consummating the marriage.

The mishnah adds that if the chassan did not consummate the marriage on the night of the wedding, he is exempt from shema for the following three nights since his mind is still pre-occupied with the mitzvah at hand. The mishnah relates that Rabban Gamliel, however, did recite kerias shema when he was a chassan. When his students asked him about it, he explained, “I cannot possibly abrogate my obligation to accept Heaven’s kingship even for one moment.”

A second mishnah on our daf (16b) qualifies the rule of the previous mishnah, and seems to be in general agreement with Rabban Gamliel’s behavior. Indeed, it states that if a chassan so chooses, he may recite kerias shema.

Family Dispute?

Interesting, then, is the statement of his son, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, that not everyone has the right to display such piety and therefore a chassan should not recite kerias shema on his wedding night. At the conclusion of our perek, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel’s view is explained. Only one who is highly pious, a Torah scholar of note, may recite kerias shema on his wedding night. A Torah scholar of ordinary stature, however, may not. Thus, there is no inconsistency between Rabbi Shimon b. Gamliel’s view and that of his father cited in the earlier mishnah.

Kavanah, The Lack Of

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 70:3), essentially quoting Tosafos (17b, sv “R. Shisha …”), rules that a chassan today should recite kerias shema since most people lack proper kavanah when they daven. In other words, a chassan’s kerias shema on the night of his wedding may lack kavanah but so do the kerias shemas he says throughout the year. If an ordinary chassan doesn’t say kerias shema on his wedding night, he appears haughty since he’s implying that if not for his preoccupied mind, his kerias shema would contain the proper level of kavanah.

Hand In Hand

What is the rule regarding davening Ma’ariv? It would seem that the same rules that apply to kerias shema should apply to Ma’ariv. Yet, we find that they don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 70sk3) writes that a chassan is exempt from kerias shema and Ma’ariv, but when he discusses the minhag nowadays, he writes that a chassan should recite kerias shema and makes no mention of Ma’ariv. It thus seem that a chassan is exempt from Ma’ariv even nowadays. The reason for this is because, as the Shulchan Aruch Harav writes, kerias shema is a biblical obligation whereas Ma’ariv is only rabbinical.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published semi-monthly is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-38/2012/08/15/

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